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Showing posts from February, 2013

Discovery of contraband in a shared cell is sufficient to warrant loss of good time credits

In Denny v. Schultz, Docket No. 11-1450 (3d Cir. Feb. 15, 2013), the Third Circuit considered the question of what limit the Due Process Clause places on the constructive possession theory in the prison context. Inmate Denny shared a cell with one other inmate. During a routine search of the cell, a corrections officer found two metal shanks located in the duct work of a ceiling vent. The duct was accessible from both Denny's cell and the adjacent cell, which housed an additional three inmates. Denny and his cell mate were both charged with possession of a weapon, but the inmates in the adjacent cell were not charged. Denny was sanctioned and received sixty days in disciplinary segregation and the forfeiture of forty days good time credit.

After exhausting his administrative remedies, Denny filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition. The district court sua sponte dismissed the petition, finding that the Disciplinary Hearing Officer's (DHO) findings were supported by "some evidenc…

General appellate waiver does not bar appeal of subsequent modification of terms of supervised release

Deciding a matter of first impression, the Third Circuit, in United States v. Wilson, Docket No. 12-1881 (3d Cir. Feb. 14, 2013), ruled that a defendant's broad, general waiver of appellate rights encompassed only his original sentence, not the subsequent modification of the terms of his supervised release.

Wilson pled guilty to two federal drug charges. His plea agreement contained a waiver of his right to appeal or collaterally challenge his conviction and sentence. After sentencing, Wilson filed a Notice of Appeal, but the Third Circuit enforced the waiver and affirmed his conviction and sentence. Wilson was eventually released from prison and began serving a six year term of supervised release. About three months into his term, his Probation Officer filed an application to modify the terms of Wilson's supervised release to include participation in a mental health program as an additional condition. The district court agreed to the requested modification and ordered Wilson …